The quality of dealing with New York City's increasing disparities—including income, healthcare, and stop-and-frisk—will define the outcome of the upcoming mayoral race, Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
"The sharpest disparity in the last few years has been two different approaches to policing, depending on what kind of community you lived in," de Blasio said on Morning Joe. "I think the judge's ruling put a very, very fine point on the issue...that's why this whole approach has to end. It's actually making us less safe for the long run."
A judge ruled earlier this week that police officers in New York City violated citizens' constitutional rights by targeting mostly minority residents in the stop-and-frisk policy.
Among Democratic voters who are critical of the city's stop-and-frisk policy, 34% backed de Blasio, 24% supported former Comptroller William Thompson, and 22% endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday. De Blasio has said he would keep the policy in place in some form, but wants to ban the police from racial profiling.
"You can't have an unconstitutional approach to policing, a discriminatory approach, and say that somehow that's OK. I think it's disqualified immediately for that reason," de Blasio said on the show.
"I think we have to really look at the fact that this has not made us safer. Yes, some guns were found, and I'm glad," he added. "But you would have found a lot more guns if police and a community were communicating productively and police were getting leads from community members on where the bad guys were and where the guns are."
De Blasio emerged in the recent Quinnipiac poll as the lead candidate on the eve of the first of three debates Tuesday. He earned 30% of the Democratic vote, followed by Quinn with 24%, Thompson with 22%, former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner with 10%, Comptroller John Liu with 6%, and former Council member Sal Albanese with 1%. Seven percent of voters were undecided four weeks ahead of the mayoral election.
At one point Weiner was in first place, but he recently sank to fourth among Democratic voters following new sexting revelations. The former congressman released his first TV campaign advertisement this week, promising to fight "every single day" for his supporters if they elect him mayor.
"I think what matters is we're actually talking about issues. The side show is actually dissipating," de Blasio said. "In the debate last night we talked about issues, not about one guy's personal situation, and that's what's good."
(Watch Morning Joe's interview with de Blasio):